The Wildfox Home blog

Why does tea taste better out of a bone china mug?

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White Bone china mug Home is where your story beginsIn my younger years I never understood why some people would only drink their tea out of a bone china cup.  To be honest I used to think that they were being blooming awkward.  That opinion changed when I started developing the Wildfox Home Signature range. 

I spent weeks looking into what type of giftware mugs were available on the market.  What were my competitors selling, what was the price point and what do customers want out of a ceramic based gift?  I assumed that most people didn’t care or didn’t even know about the type of mug they are using for their beverages.  However, quite quickly it became evident that bone china was the preferred choice of ceramic when it came to gifting drink vessels.

Naturally, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I set about ordering some samples to conduct my research.  Lots of tea (with milk and 1 sugar) was consumed all in the name of product exploration!


Well……. I am a woman transformed! I was astounded to discover that drinking out of bone china is a rather pleasant experience and that there is some truth to the myth of why tea tastes better out of a bone china cup / mug. 

But why? 

Now, I am the sort of person who likes to know how things work.  So for your benefit, as well as satisfying my own curiosity, I have extensively researched this very topic and complied my findings into my latest blog.

A bit of background information for you first…

Bone China is classed as a high grade porcelain.  However, some would say that bone china is the English version of porcelain. 

You can tell when a cup or mug is made from bone china as it has a high level of whiteness and it lighter than other ceramics.  Even though it is lightweight it is considered one of the strongest types of porcelain.  It is highly wear resistant and an absolute doddle to clean.  Have you ever had to scrub or bleach the tea stains out of a bone china mug?  No! Neither have I.

Here’s another fun fact for you.  Bone china becomes translucent when you shine a torch through it.  Honestly it does!  I popped a torch inside one of our “Home is where your story begins” mugs and it was quite mesmerising.  The bone china took on a warm white glow and the illustration of the houses really stood out.  It would make a wonderful tea-light holder don’t you think?

All these quality features of the porcelain are great but why does your tea taste better? 

Apparently, it’s all down to the smooth surface of the inside of the mug. 

A smooth surface keeps the natural tannins in your tea from sticking to the inside of your mug. 

If a mug is porous, it will absorb and retain aromas and flavours of your previous drinks.  This tends to be the case with a lot of cheaper earthenware mugs.
If the inside of the mug is not porous then the flavours remain in the tea itself and the aromas will escape from the top of the mug, thus tantalising your senses whilst you drink.  When I started drinking tea out of bone china, I noticed that each brew was that little bit more fresh & crisp.

Also, due to the lightweight and thinness of bone china, the rim of the mug is slim which allows the tea to glide gently onto your tongue and giving your tea maximum exposure over your taste buds.  And that is why tea tastes better drinking out of bone china. 


Yes, bone china is more expensive than your cheap supermarket ceramics but you really do get what you pay for when it comes to quality drinkware. So next time you are thinking of gifting a mug, think about investing just that little bit more in a quality bone china piece.  Your recipient will no doubt enjoy many years of tea drinking happiness and thank you for it.   

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  1. Vivienne Van Rooyen

    Thanks I?m glad someone else has thought about bone china for tea- growing up (5 children) we all had our own distinctive bone China cup and saucer- I continued this and still seek out bone China mugs- I think it has to do with temperature - most China available now does not kept its heat. Mainly only English China does ( although I have a Figgio set that does also). Thanks for the post - interesting

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  2. James

    Thank you! My friend asked me today "why is it said that tea tastes better in a china cup or a porcelain mug. He asked because my parents were English hoping I could answer that. I suggested she google it. Then I began to wonder as my mother did enjoy her tea in a porcelain mug or china tea cup. You have illustrated the history beautifully. Thank you! I hope your business is a continued success. BTW I'm writing you from Canada. The internet is so wonderful how it can connect people from all over the globe. ???

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  3. Laurier Beaudoin

    This information would be of great interest to my clients at

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  4. Roz Owens

    That's so cool I've always wondered why... My nan refuses to drink out of anything else and in my own experiment I started drinking out of a porcelain cup and it tastes so much better!

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